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A date night at the Bijou Art Cinemas on East 13th Avenue: I feel flustered and find myself battling between excitement and insecurity.

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I take my time getting ready: hair and makeup, on point. Outfit: classy with a pinch of sex appeal. Walking up to the building, I notice the rhododendron blossoms surrounding the entrance, which matched the delicate intricacy of the cream-colored structure. I open the front door and find myself bathed in dim lighting that sets the mood. Buying my ticket, I stand awestruck, looking over the selection of indie movies galore.

I pick a seat in the cozy theater and shut off my phone goodbye, outside world.

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The previews flicker to life on the small screen. Settled in and ready for the film, I reach for my glass of wine and realize how comforting it is to be with myself; to be alone. Alone — a loaded word that is undergoing dramatic shifts as growing s of people adopt it as a lifestyle, more so than ever before in U. People young and not-so-young are trading in the traditional milestone of marriage for a different kind of commitment: being single. Singlehood, by choice or circumstance, is no easy journey and is often bombarded by social stigmas or pressure to hop on the Tinder train for the occasional validation of a one-night stand.

Plenty of single people, however, are choosing to date themselves instead of giving into the pressure to shop around. It is a commitment to oneself — passions, career and dreams — and it builds an intimate relationship with yourself instead of hooking up with another person or people in the stereotypical romantic way. Her perspective on self-love was sewn in her Santa Cruz upbringing and has helped Eugeneans who are divorced, married and everything in-between build healthy relationships with themselves.

She describes the need to get to know yourself as paramount; the relationship needs to be honest, accepting and intimate. You can only love others if you love yourself. Blanchet recommends courting yourself. With quality time and a focus on yourself, something inside eventually starts talking back, giving you guidance for the rest of your self-exploration trip. The rewards of spending more time with yourself — as opposed to chasing after any attractive distraction walking by — are subtle.

What you do discover, according to Blanchet, is another kind of happiness. You can be happy with someone or without someone. Courting myself? The only thing that stood between me Eugene women looking to fuck in a self-date to paint the town was hesitation of trying out something far from my norm.

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So, I decided to start off dating myself with baby steps: something small, simple and with little to no chance of talking myself out of it. As it turns out, the Bijou Art Cinemas is one of the top spots for moviegoers taking themselves on a date. Julie Blonshteyn, who has been working at Bijou Arts Cinemas for nearly two and a half years, guesses about 20 people come to the theater by themselves during an average week.

She describes seeing so many independent moviegoers as incredible. That happens all the time. Richard Hayley, a young something in Eugene, frequents the Bijou for some quality alone time. Unlike its more crowded sister theater in the downtown area, this artsy cinema is a quiet retreat.

On my first self-date to the Bijou, I sat in the dark, fidgeting with insecurity. A conversation sparked in my head. I rambled on about how interestingly the silhouettes of people bobbed in front of me and giggled over jokes I made, amazed by my own sense of humor. I realized something: This is me enjoying my own company.

You may notice new details or spark up a debate in your head. As I went more and more places by myself, a checklist slowly started compiling itself. Yes to that bar, yes to that park, and stay the hell away from that one club.

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Scattered around Eugene are plenty of havens for the single crowd. Bike rides and strolls through your part of town are a given and are easygoing ways to catch up with yourself. This question gets eased into catch-up chats with a handful of my family members and old friends. Pressure to date comes in multiple forms and can affect people young, old and all across the broad spectrum of identities. But one particular audience is given quite a bit more attention than others: women.

If you identify or were socialized as a woman, being in some form of a romantic relationship is usually held as a milestone of worth and validation. To top it off, you have the largest realm of media portrayals directed at your love and sex life. There is a growing of media promoting the idea of women being single, although most of them wind up alluding to getting married, getting laid or eventually being in a relationship.

But there are plenty of women who are choosing to throw themselves into passions, careers and friendships instead of indulging another round of serial dating. According to a survey by the U. Census Bureau, million people 18 and older identified as single in the majority of which had never been married, widowed or divorcedand 53 percent of those folks were women.

It can be isolating and overwhelming for some women who decide to be — and stay — single. During moments of weakness, I desperately turn to Google to help me find a sense of camaraderie. Hannah Orenstein, a year-old freelance writer currently living in New York, has written for Cosmo, xoJaneThought Catalog and other popular on-and-offline publications. She reminds me of a more modern Rory Gilmore who took the Cosmopolitan path as opposed to presidential campaign reporting.

Orenstein is sweet, fashionable and determined as fuck. Orenstein explains how being single can look like different things to different people. When you choose the latter, pressure can reach beyond the media hype of finding your soul mate; it can come from your family. Orenstein giggles about her own experiences Eugene women looking to fuck in her grandmother who relentlessly tries to play matchmaker.

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Women have their own priorities, and dating or hooking up may not make the cut. Those who identify as men are also smashed into a mold of what their love and sex lives should look like. Non-binary folks and people of color have more neglectful or misrepresenting media attention plastered all over their experiences — most of them often inaccurate and tokenizing.

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Whoever you are, it can be a blessing to step back and examine what the hell your life actually looks like. Finding your own identity and what that entails, how it needs to be taken care of in order for your relationship with yourself to be strong and sustainable, is all a part of quality time with your own damn self. Once I committed to myself and moved past the exhilaration of those first couple of self-dates, things got a little bumpy. Self-dating is more an obstacle course to fulfillment than a solo stroll at sunset.

Eugene women looking to fuck in of us are taught from a young age that romance and a sex life are fully dependent on other people — a mindset that can eventually lead us to cluelessness as to what our actual desires and needs are. In his book, Dumm points out how being alone has become a negative experience for people of all different races, genders and sexual identities, and how solitude, when approached with a healthy attitude, actually can be of utmost value in love, loss and life in general.

In the solitude of ourselves we learn something that is otherwise unavailable to us — how to become who we are. This is no small accomplishment. One of the biggest hurdles in being alone is doing just that. The steady increase of online social networks, dating and hook-up sites, plus the wonderful world of smartphone apps, has caused an enormous growth in socializing accessibility.

These readily available resources to the hook-up scene might be the exact reason so many folks these days experience being alone as an obstacle rather than a blessing. Dating and sleeping around have become the norm, and apps like Tinder are an increasingly popular outlet for one-night fulfillment. On the other hand, some people might need to step back and take a good look at themselves, by themselves. When you shut off your computer and put down your phone, you finally have time to work on yourself. My ass got dumped, and a shit-storm breakup ensued. What I did choose was to take myself to the movies on a lonely night.

When the film ended, the lights came back to life and I walked myself home with a pleasant wine buzz and in that after-movie daze. The feeling of accomplishment was intoxicating; I did something for myself, by myself. So now I choose to continue finding out new ways to show myself love, exploring where I like to go, who I like to be around and what I like to do and what I actually like in bed. Sometimes, choosing to be single may not be the most viable choice to make for financial, health or familial reasons. At any stage of your life, however, you always have the opportunity to devote time and energy towards getting to know yourself — or, rather, your self.

This may mean taking yourself out to dinner or sitting with yourself while watching the sun go down over those lazy, distant mountaintops. It could mean traveling by yourself or making a solo relocation to new digs, a new city. It means getting to know yourself, for yourself. A movie it is, then. And damn, it felt empowering. So, Are You Seeing Anyone?

Ah, oasis. I wanted more. Say hello to yourself.

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